Meet Medical student Karina Melgar
Where did you grow up and complete your undergraduate studies?
I was born in El Salvador and grew up in Los Angeles. I attended UCLA for my undergraduate studies where I majored in physiological science. I taught kindergarten for five years in South Central Los Angeles before moving on to medical school.
Why did you choose to study medicine?
Medicine combines my interests in teaching, physiology and hospital care. When I was younger, it was an eye-opener going to hospitals with my grandmother, who had a heart murmur, and my grandfather, who had chronic lung problems, and seeing how some physicians were better than others at interacting with them and how that made a positive difference in their care. I think I saw just one physician with whom I could really relate. As a Latina, I want to be able to use a medical degree to help mentor young women. I am now completing my third year and would like to specialize in family practice.
What is the best thing about the School of Medicine?
It's like a family here at UC Davis, which helped me in my transition away from my hometown. I come from a big family, and I like having a big support system. I also really like our student-run clinics. They provide students with a chance to give back to the community and start practicing their skills. New students really need the outside world when they're deep in their medical studies, and the School of Medicine is great at providing opportunities for social and community networking.
What's new in your life today?
I'm about to be an aunt for the first time, since my brother and his wife are expecting a baby this July. I recently completed my obstetrics/gynecology rotation, so guess who is now their favorite source of information!
Spring / Summer 2010
UC Davis Health System is proud to be home to medical, nursing, family nurse practitioner / physician assistant, public health and health informatics students and to also be the internship site for pharmacy, nutrition and other programs. Improving the health of our communities requires that we bring together these perspectives, and UC Davis is well positioned to do so.